The one fight in 2017 that had fans clamoring for a rematch to happen in 2018 is Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin. It was certainly no secret that a rematch would happen on May 5, 2018, but on January 29, the rematch was made official, with HBO with the help of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, making the monumental announcement.
Not everything about the May 5 event is signed off, mainly the venue and undercard, but everything else that is important about the rematch has seemingly been resolved and the fight will in fact happen. Canelo vs. Golovkin is perhaps this generation's top boxing rivalry and a rematch between the two will only make the sport stronger as Canelo and Golovkin are arguably the two biggest boxing stars in the world (with Anthony Joshua being a strong third).
Speaking of Joshua, while a superfight with Deontay Wilder looms large, the real superfight involving Joshua, at least for British boxing fans, is a bout against former unified heavyweight champion Tyson Fury, who is now fully cleared by both the UKAD and BBBofC to resume his boxing career after a tumultuous past 25 months involving failed drug tests and months of appeal while Fury was indecisive on retiring from the sport for good. With recent rumors surrounding Fury likely signing, or at least working closely with, Frank Warren's Queensberry Promotions, questions are starting to surround whether or not the Joshua vs. Fury fight will take place until perhaps summer 2019 at the earliest or ever for that matter.
Joshua vs. Fury is, on paper, the biggest heavyweight fight in the history of British boxing and it will be quite some time before that ever gets done, but the behind-the-scenes aspect of this fight is almost as interesting as the actual fight action this bout would certainly bring. Fury's initial return, planned for April, will give fans an idea of whether or not interest in making Joshua vs. Fury a reality will increase, stay the same or decrease.
For the immediate future, the World Boxing Super Series returns with what could be the best fight in the entire tournament with Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos for the unified IBF/WBA "regular" cruiserweight titles. Unfortunately, if you're a fan in the United States, getting a hold of watching the fight is somewhat tough due to a lack of any television deal being made to have the WBSS be broadcasted on networks such as Showtime. If anything, this television situation is yet another case of politics interfering with the betterment of the sport of boxing.
All this more covered on this week's edition of the Fightful Boxing Newsletter.
Fightful Boxing Newsletter (2/1) Table Of Contents:
- Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Set For May 5 (Page 2)
- Latest On Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury (Page 3)
- World Boxing Super Series Preview; American Television Woes Continue (Page 4)
- Weekend Boxing Results; What's Next For Usyk, Briedis, Linares, Matthysse? (Pages 5-6)
- Results From The World Of Boxing (Page 7)
- Fightful Boxing Rankings (Pages 8-9)
- News And Notes From The World Of Boxing (Page 10)
Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin Set For May 5:
The much-anticipated rematch between Canelo Alvarez and Gennady Golovkin is official.
Golden Boy Promotions, who promotes Alvarez, Tom Loeffler of K2 Promotions, who promotes Golovkin, have agreed to the rematch, per ESPN. The fight is scheduled to take place on May 5 at a site to be determined. The three likeliest places to host the fight are the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas and Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Both Alvarez and Golovkin are excited to engage once more after their first encounter on September 16, 2017 failed to provide a clear and concise winner. Golovkin, who firmly believes he was the winner in the first fight, said he's elated to get his hands on Alvarez and prove that he is in fact the top middleweight in the world.
"I am ready to battle Canelo again and am happy he took this fight again," Golovkin said. "This is the fight the world wants. This is the fight boxing deserves. I didn't agree with some of the judges' decisions in the first fight. This time there will be no doubt. I am leaving the ring as the middleweight champion of the world."
Alvarez also talked about being a part of one of the sport's biggest fights and said he will knock out Golovkin, a feat that has never been done in Golovkin's amateur and professional career.
"I'm delighted to once again participate in one of the most important boxing events in history," Alvarez said. "This second fight is for the benefit and pleasure of all fans who desire to see the best fight the best. This time, Golovkin won't have any excuses regarding the judges because I'm coming to knock him out."
The first fight, which took place in Las Vegas, ended in a split draw that saw many criticize judge Adalaide Byrd's scorecard, which was 118-110 in favor of Alvarez. Fightful had scored the fight a 114-114 draw, but many believed that Golovkin was the rightful winner. Golovkin's WBA "super," WBC, IBF and IBO titles, as well as Alvarez's The Ring and lineal middleweight titles were on the line in the first encounter.
After the first fight, negotiations for a rematch began almost immediately with the WBC ordering a rematch between the two. Back in October, Golovkin's trainer Abel Sanchez had previously told Fightful that the rematch was going to take place either in March or on May 5.
Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook has Golovkin as the early favorite at -180 and Alvarez at +150 with an over/under of 11.5 rounds. The first bout between the two did a reported 1.3 million pay-per-view buys, the second highest pay-per-view buyrate for a boxing event in 2017.
Right now among the three venues being closely looked as potential hosts for the rematch, the T-Mobile Arena is the favorite. It’s the safest pick given that the first fight generated an insane amount of revenue in terms of live gate and closed circuit television around the area.
Madison Square Garden is probably the second favorite to host the fight. That fight could also be seen as a fairly safe bet, given how much of a draw Golovkin is in New York and that has a very strong chance at selling out the arena. HBO has done well broadcasting pay-per-views from Madison Square Garden, so it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the rematch going to New York.
As for AT&T Stadium, home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, that venue is by far the biggest venue of the three, and it has very good chance at doing attendance numbers upwards of 50,000. It’s close proximity to Mexico guarantees a large gathering of fans attending the fight considering how immensely over both Alvarez and Golovkin are in Mexico. It’s hard to envision this fight, or any fight in the United States selling out AT&T Stadium the same way Anthony Joshua vs. Wladimir Klitschko had a sellout crowd of 90,000 at Wembley Stadium in London.
For starters. Joshua and Klitschko are far bigger names in the United Kingdom than Alvarez and Golovkin are in the United States, and the British boxing scene is far more invested in the sport than in the United States. For as much of a hot ticket the first Alvarez vs. Golovkin fight was in Las Vegas, it wasn’t as hot as the ticket sales for Joshua vs. Klitschko, which sold 70,000 tickets in mere minutes on the first round of ticket sales.
As for who could take part on the undercard, two names are seriously considered to have fights take place: Diego De La Hoya and Roman “Chocolatito” Gonzalez. De La Hoya had fought on the pay-per-view card on the first Alvarez vs. Golovkin fight and is clearly being groomed by Golden Boy Promotions to be a major star. As talented as De La Hoya is, he doesn’t possess the skills or the charisma that would result in him being a top boxing star like Oscar De La Hoya was, or even come close to it. De La Hoya will likely sniff a world title opportunity, likely against WBC champion Rey Vargas, sometime this year, but that fight wouldn’t take place until the fall at the earliest.
Gonzalez is an interesting case since his career is in limbo since losing to Srisaket Sor Rungivisai last September. Gonzalez has expressed interest in fighting on the May 5 card and if the powers that be allow it, Gonzalez could try and challenge for Kal Yafai’s WBA “super” super flyweight title in the co-main event. That fight would be a very good main event on paper, far better than the co-main event for the first fight was on paper, but whether or not Yafai and promoter Eddie Hearn would want that fight on that date remains to be seen. Hearn could be looking to have Yafai branch out as a true headliner in the United Kingdom rather than serve as the co-main event champion to other major fights (Yafai fought Sho Kimura in the co-main event slot of Joshua’s October 2017 over Carlos Takam).
Latest On Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury:
Anthony Joshua vs. Tyson Fury, perhaps the biggest heavyweight fight in British boxing history, looks to be in danger of not happening at all instead of a potential late 2018/2019 fight date.
There are rumors circulating that Fury is set to sign a promotional deal with Frank Warren’s Queensberry Promotions. For those outside of the British boxing bubble, Warren’s Queensberry Promotions is essentially the main rival to Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing (much like the relationship between Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions and Bob Arum’s Top Rank Promotions here in the western side of the world). The issue here is that Matchroom Boxing promotes Joshua and usually it is incredibly difficult to book a major fight between big stars from rival promotions.
The news of Fury signing with Warren should not come as a surprise. After all, Warren’s top fighter on his roster is WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders, who is very good friends with Fury and the two had been training together for several months. Even though Hearn had publicly been supportive of a Joshua vs. Fury encounter and has, on various occasions, offered to help out Fury with his case involving the United Kingdom Anti-Drug Agency and the British Boxing Board Of Control, the relationship between Hearn and Fury (the key relationship in making a Joshua vs. Fury fight happen), had always been rocky at best.
Although Hearn seemed friendly towards Fury, Fury didn’t always reciprocate those same friendly feelings, so much to the point that Hearn would even admit that their relationship is strange to say the least.
Fury will figure to be very busy in shaking off the ring rust. Warren had said that Fury plans to fight four times in his first full year back, not specifying if he meant four fights in 2018 or four fights in the span of 12 months starting in April, the planned return month for Fury.
In terms of actually negotiating the fight, the likelihood of those two engaging in any serious talks in 2018 are somewhat low, especially if Hearn offers anything less than a 50-50 revenue split with Warren.
There is no way that Warren and Fury will accept anything less and if the negotiations between Hearn and DUCO Events, which promote WBO champion Joseph Parker, is any indication, it will be a long negotiation period. Despite Fury having not fought since 2015, Fury’s popularity among British fans is still more or less on par with Joshua and no matter where or against who, Fury will be a major draw, especially in his first fight back, so the argument of Fury being deserving of a 50-50 split despite the inactivity has some serious merit.
Should a fight between the two ever happen, the fight taking place at any venue in the United Kingdom will be an immediate sellout. Perhaps the venues that would be in play to host such a fight would be Wembley Stadium in London, Twickenham Stadium, also in London, Old Trafford in Manchester and Principality Stadium in Cardiff, Wales. Should the fight take place at Wembley, the fight has about a 99.9 percent chance of matching the British boxing attendance record set last year when Joshua defeated Wladimir Klitschko. That fight was an immediate sellout of 90,000, the most any venue in the United Kingdom can hold.
As for who could be fighting Fury in his planned April return, there’s a number of names that are in play, but it all depends on whether or not Fury wants to take an easy fight to shake the rust off or have a moderately tough fight in order to keep his Ring Magazine heavyweight title. Fury still holds the title, but the powers that be that are in charge of the magazine’s rankings have been saying that if Fury doesn’t schedule a fight soon, he will be stripped of the title. All in all, whether or not Fury holds the Ring Magazine has very little importance. At this point in Fury’s career, he doesn’t really need the titles to be a draw. Fury is one of the most charismatic and unpredictable boxers today and that alone will guarantee eyeballs on wherever he fights.
If Warren had his way, Fury will probably headline a fight card, likely on pay-per-view. Fury could easily fetch £3-4 million (about $4.3-5.7 million) for this first fight. If Fury simply wants an easy fight to shake off the ring rust and boost his confidence up, there’s a near-endless number of names he can choose from. If Fury wants to keep his Ring Magazine title, there are a few names that can pop up. Below are the Ring Magazine’s top 10 heavyweights:
- Anthony Joshua
- Deontay Wilder
- Joseph Parker
- Alexander Povetkin
- Luis Ortiz
- Kubrat Pulev
- Dominic Breazeale
- Dillian Whyte
- Jarrell Miller
- Adam Kownacki
Of those 10 boxers, only Povetkin, Pulev, Breazeale and Kownacki don't have a fight scheduled. Povetkin and Pulev would present the biggest challenges, but each man is a mandatory challenger to one of Joshua's world titles. Povetkin is the mandatory challenger to the WBA "super" title and Pulev still technically is the IBF's mandatory challenger. Defeating one of them guarantees Fury an eventual title shot against Joshua or whoever holds the WBA or IBF title. Breazeale has fought in the United Kingdom in 2016 when he lost to Joshua so British fans have some recollection of Breazeale fighting there. Kownacki is perhaps the wild card in this. He's coming off a stoppage win on the undercard of the Errol Spence Jr. vs. Lamont Peterson and is getting a ton of momentum, but it's possible promoter Lou DiBella might think it's too soon for Kownacki to take a fight of that magnitude at this stage of Kownacki's career if Warren and Fury express interest in Kownacki.
World Boxing Super Series Preview; American Television Woes Continue:
The World Boxing Super Series returned last week with a major cruiserweight unification between Oleksandr Usyk, the WBO champion, and Mairis Briedis, the WBC champion. As good as that fight was on paper, this weekend’s other cruiserweight unification, Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos, has the potential to be a modern day classic, one that many fans in the United States will not get to watch.
This brings another round of questions surrounding the lack of any American television deal for the World Boxing Super Series. The lack of televised coverage in the United States isn’t due to low interest because interest is surely there and there is perhaps no fight in the tournament thus far that has produced such high interest in the west such as Gassiev vs. Dorticos. So why is it that American boxing fans will not get the opportunity to have relatively easy access to what could end up being one of the best cruiserweight title fights in history?
The current rumors circulating the boxing mediascape is that Showtime was in fact close to signing a deal to televise both the cruiserweight and super middleweight tournaments of the World Boxing Super Series. According to Gabe Oppenheim, Richard Schaefer, who has been co-promoting the tournament, believes he was frozen out of a Showtime deal by Al Haymon, who runs Premier Boxing Champions. Part of the issue from this stems from the fact that Showtime was ready to move forward with the WBSS, but now the schedule for the first six months of 2018 has been filled with mostly major PBC cards.
Oppenheim called Tim Smith, VP of Communications for Haymon Sports, and Smith alluded to the fact that there was an issue in the Showtime-WBSS television, but didn’t specify what went wrong or who was to blame.
“Last I checked, Stephen Espinoza was the president of Showtime Sports. Al doesn’t run Showtime… Seems to me Richard would’ve had that locked down before they started the tournament. It seems like someone dropped the ball, and now they’re trying to make it right,” Smith said.
Epix offered a deal to televise the tournament, but Schaefer turned down the offer. While one would think Schaefer would simply go to HBO in the hopes a deal can be struck down, getting HBO to even entertain an offer is significantly more complicated.
When Haymon, and by extension Schaefer, formed PBC, lots of their stars came from Golden Boy Promotions, who had already been working with HBO. That mass exodus of fighters leaving Golden Boy and HBO left an increasingly sour taste in the network’s mouth and it would be incredibly tough to mend that relationship at this moment. It’s not impossible, but at this moment the only hope HBO would work to broadcast the WBSS would be for the final and it’s hard to imagine HBO pulling a lot of resources for that final given how seemingly close it is to the Canelo Alvarez vs. Gennady Golovkin rematch on May 5.
The WBSS and their lack of television exposure in the United States is an example of boxing politics at its worst. It has deprived many of watching these fights, most of which had been solid and entertaining at worst and downright excellent at best. The World Boxing Super Series fully intends to have another set of tournaments in late 2018 or 2019, this time in the lower weight classes instead of two of the four heaviest divisions in the sport. If the WBSS ever hopes to have any longstanding success, then it needs to get its television situation sorted out in the immediate future and not have to rely on shoddy internet streams which have drawn the ire of many in the boxing community for its lack of quality and unreliable broadcasting.
As for the actual in-ring action, Gassiev vs. Dorticos should be an incredibly good fight. Given both men are quite possibly the strongest punchers at 200 pounds (and it’s hard to argue against that), this fight has the potential to be a very quick one. I’ve seen some people compare this as a possible Hagler vs. Hearns type of fight and although there is some merit to that comparison in terms of both fighters’ power, I would necessarily go that far.
Gassiev is the favorite heading into the fight, but the fight honestly could go either way. Gassiev’s somewhat limited experience has been questioned by some despite holding the IBF world title. It is a legitimate concern, but it’s hard to say that Gassiev hasn’t been succeeding on every opportunity that he has been given. Gassiev perhaps has the best stable of fighters and trainers in his current situation being trained by Abel Sanchez and having Gennady Golovkin as a close training partner.
Dorticos, on the other hand, has always been seen as a strong puncher, but he may have been flying under the radar a bit pre-WBSS because of him holding one of the three WBA titles at the time. Now he is holding of the two main world titles by the WBA and the WBSS has given him a platform to truly shine and be seen as one of the three biggest stars in the division (alongside Gassiev and Usyk).
Weekend Boxing Results; What's Next For Usyk, Briedis, Linares, Matthysse?
It was a pretty heavy weekend of boxing, especially on January 27 with the return of boxing on HBO and the first of four World Boxing Super Series fights in January and February.
The HBO card had two world title fights in Lucas Matthysse vs. Tewa Kiram for the vacant WBA “regular” welterweight title and Jorge Linares vs. Mercito Gesta for the WBA lightweight title. On paper, this isn’t a terrible doubleheader, but the end result was perhaps one of the strangest and weakest world title doubleheaders in recent memory, especially with the main event of Matthysse vs. Kiram.
Matthysse won the title with a “knockout” in the eighth round in what was actually one of the worst world title main events in recent memory, with the closest one coming to mind being Erislandy Lara vs. Terrell Gausha last year on Showtime. Matthysse looked disinterested at times, even while dominating Kiram, but the fight itself was a snoozefest.
Late in the fight, in between rounds, a bizarre moment occurred where the California State Athletic Commission caught Kiram sniffing a jar containing a strange substance (which was just Tiger Balm) given to him by his corner. Then came the first knockdown. Kiram, who is naturally bigger than his opponent, had shown no signs of having trouble with Matthysse’s power when all of a sudden a hard left jab and grazing right put him down. He got up but then hit the canvas again from another jab after a suspiciously long delay, which ended the fight. The HBO broadcast team wondered aloud whether Kiram was looking for a way out of the fight and took a dive and when looking at the replay, it’s incredibly hard not to think that given that the sport once had a dark past where fighters taking a dive was a unfortunately common occurrence.
Regardless, even without the odd knockout, the fight will probably be remembered as a disaster of a main event. Matthysse was clearly the better fighter, but we didn’t see him truly go all out. It looked like that Matthysse fought down to Kiram’s level and not even Kiram could muster any meaningful offense against Matthysse. For wrestling fans familiar with Dave Meltzer’s star ratings system used to rate matches, Matthysse vs. Kiram would have probably fetched a 0.5 to 1.25 star rating out of five stars, which is an abysmal score.
In the co-main event, Linares dominated Gesta in a 12-round rout. Nothing truly noteworthy happened in the fight, which saw Linares outland and outspeed Gesta, who to Gesta’s credit, managed to go the distance when many would have thought Gesta would get knocked out. It was nothing more than a squash match used to showcase Linares’ incredible talent and athleticism against a second-tier opponent on HBO.
Ratings for the HBO doubleheader were surprisingly solid, if not unspectacularly decent in today's current HBO boxing audience. The main event peaked at 769,000 viewers, averaging 719,000 viewers. This is a massive jump in viewership from HBO's first telecast of 2017 (Vargas vs. Berchelt), which averaged about 497,000 viewers on January 28, 2017.
In the first of two semifinals in the World Boxing Super Series cruiserweight tournament, Oleksandr Usyk narrowly edged out Mairis Briedis in Briedis' home country of Latvia to unify the WBO and WBC cruiserweight titles. Usyk defeated Briedis by majority decision in what was certainly Usyk's toughest opponent to date. Not only did Usyk pulled out a win over an incredibly tough Briedis, but to also do it in front Briedis' hometown fans shows how much Usyk has improved since he started his pro career.
The fight was a battle between a fighter who tried to throw as many power punches as possible (Briedis) and a fighter who tried to control the pace and rhythm of the action by constantly staying active and utilizing the jab (Usyk). The fight was solid and might end up being one of the better fights of the semifinals. Usyk, the No. 1 ranked fighter in the cruiserweight tournament, advances to the finals, which is expected to take place in May.
Should Usyk win the entire tournament, it's entirely possible that Usyk's first fight post-WBSS would be a rematch against Briedis. It's rate that a loss would raise a fighter's stock, especially if that fighter is a world champion, but Briedis' stock did just that in this loss. Prior to the tournament, barely anyone out here in the west could recognize Briedis' status as one of the best boxers at 200 pounds because he didn't have a noteworthy-enough of an opponent for people to really pay attention to him. Briedis could try and make an attempt at fighting in the heavyweight division. With the WBA's two world titles at heavyweight likely not being unified anytime soon, Brieidis could make an attempt to fight the winner of the Manuel Charr vs. Fres Oquendo WBA "regular" heavyweight title fight. Briedis already has a win over Charr from back in 2015 so it could be one route to go in case Briedis doesn't get a crack at a cruiserweight world title sometime soon.
As for Usyk, some may feel more swayed to day that Usyk, originally the favorite to win the entire tournament, may actually be considered an underdog in the final against the winner of the Murat Gassiev vs. Yunier Dorticos fight in the other semifinal bout. Gassiev and Dorticos had the more impressive performances with stellar knockout wins in the quarterfinals, but Usyk has grown significantly throughout this tournament. When Usyk started his pro career, Usyk was knocking opponents left and right. Usyk definitely has strong hands and has knockout power, but not necessarily at the level of a Gassiev or a Dorticos. Instead of trying to look for the knockout and be something he is not, Usyk decided to fight a smart fight against Briedis and it paid off with Usyk becoming a unified champion.
In regards to Matthysse’s next fight, holding the WBA “regular” title means he’ll have to eventually fight Keith Thurman, the WBA “super” champion, but Matthysse isn’t exactly too focused on fighting Thurman, who is still without an opponent for his scheduled May fight. Matthysse said he’s more interested in fighting either Manny Pacquiao or Danny Garcia next.
In terms of fighting Pacquiao, that fight certainly does make sense. Both fighters are clearly past their prime, but are still quality boxers and that would be a fight ESPN wouldn’t have much problem making, especially if the reports of a potential pay-per-view bout for Pacquiao’s return fight end up being true. It’s a serviceable pay-per-view main event that will probably fetch a buyrate around the ballpark of 350,000-400,000, which is already better than the buyrate of most UFC pay-per-views in today’s age.
Normally, this is where we wait and see when Linares will fight WBC lightweight champion Mikey Garcia in a unification bout. Earlier this week, WBO super bantamweight champion Vasyl Lomachenko threw his hat into the ring and challenged Linares to a fight at 135 pounds, a fight that is actually being negotiated, according to Bob Arum.
What’s strange about this situation is that Linares’ camp had been wanting to unify titles with Garcia for several months and that fight was close to being done until negotiations fell at the last minute.
Should Lomachenko fight Linares, Garcia has several options for his immediate future. The first is to simply wait until Lomachenko and Linares fight and then schedule a potential superfight in the fall on either ESPN or Showtime and unify the WBA and WBC lightweight titles. The second option is for Garcia to remain at 140 pounds and continue his career from that weight class. Granted, this option hinges on whether or not Garcia wins the IBF junior welterweight title against Sergey LIpinets in March.
The third option is to have another fight in the meantime, maybe a unification bout against IBF lightweight champion against Robert Easter Jr. and the winner of both of those fights would fight each other in a three-belt unification. It makes sense on several levels when you consider the fact that Garcia and Easter were negotiating to have a WBC/IBF unification fight take place late in 2017. Easter will likely have to face a mandatory challenger in his next fight, but a unification bout usually trumps mandatory challenges on most occasions. Plus, there’s also the fact that Easter didn’t exactly look good in his January 20 fight against Javier Fortuna, who couldn’t even win the title after missing weight twice the day before the fight, Garcia could look at Easter as relatively easy pickings.
The first and third options are probably the most attractive options in terms of getting Garcia big fights in the next year or two. There’s little doubt that if Garcia wins the IBF 140-pound title, he’ll have much trouble winning the other junior welterweight belts as the division is scrambling to reestablish its stars in the wake of Terence Crawford vacating all four titles last fall.
At lightweight, however, Garcia has three big fights that are more interesting than any fight he can get at 140-pounds (Easter, Lomachenko and Linares) so if Garcia is interested on accomplishing historic feats and fight the very best boxers in the world, he’ll stay at lightweight regardless of the result against Lipinets. There’s also the idea of Garcia staying active with these fights and should he win against the three aforementioned boxers, not only would it guarantee his status as a future Hall of Famer, but also put him in the potential driver’s seat to eventually challenge Floyd Mayweather’s 50-0 record.
It sounds ridiculous at first, but when you actually look at his current record (37-0) and his age (29 years old) and the fact that he actually had more than a year of rest, suddenly that idea doesn’t sounds as implausible as it was before. Of course, Garcia would have to win 13 more fights to tie the record, but if he fights just twice every year (and given how he hasn’t really been seriously injured once in his career amd would probably take more than two fights a year on average), you could be seeing a potential Mikey Garcia sitting at 50-0 at the age of 37 in 2025. Given how he hasn’t been hit hard in his three fights since coming back to boxing, Garcia’s health is as seemingly good as it can be for a world class boxer at this stage of his career.
Garcia has talked about becoming this generation’s Mayweather in the past, winning world titles across multiple weight classes and main eventing hugely successful pay-per-views in the future. There’s no doubt that Garcia’s in-ring career trajectory is on a parallel journey to Mayweather’s rise to superstardom. In terms of Garcia having the personality to become a transcendent star like Mayweather, that’s a bit of a different story. Among boxing fans, Garcia is already a big star and he has a lot of great, positive qualities (talented, mild-mannered, jovial and confident in his skills in a way that doesn’t come across as narcissistic) that make him one of the more likeable boxers today, but there’s some doubts (at least in my eyes) whether or not Garcia can command the attention of the mainstream and non-boxing community quite like Mayweather did.
Much like in professional wrestling, boxing’s biggest stars portrayed as good guys among fans and the media typically have a foil or a star that gladly accepts a villainous role in the fans’ eyes. Part of the appeal that made Manny Pacquiao such a big star in the United States is the fact that his happy-go-lucky personality was the complete opposite of the brash, money-hungry and law-breaking Mayweather, which meant people wanted to see the rising babyface (Pacquiao) take down the unbeaten heel (Mayweather). No such foil exists in the 135 and 140-pound divisions in boxing that would make people beyond boxing fans buy a Mikey Garcia-headlined pay-per-view.
The closest one that could fill the role of Garcia’s counterpart in a big-time boxing fight is Lomachenko, who’s not so much a villain, but has turned into boxing’s next boogeyman in the same way Gennady Golovkin was during his initial venture into the American boxing market. Lomachenko’s own appeal, with the help of ESPN and Bob Arum, stems from the fact that he destroys his opponents to the point where Lomachenko saps his opponents’ will to keep fighting (which has happened in Lomachenko’s past few months).
What makes Lomachenko such a fascinating boxer is that he’s someone who not only isn’t afraid to accept any big challenges that may come his way, but actively seeks it with the help of social media, which is essentially how the fight with Guillermo Rigondeaux happened in the first place. Lomachenko possesses a unique set of accomplishments unseen in almost any other boxer in history (two-time Olympic gold medalist, world title challenger in only his second fight).
If Lomachenko fights Linares and beats Linares, a fight between Garcia and Lomachenko should be the superfight of the second half of 2018 and ESPN should roll the dice and have that fight headline a pay-per-view. With Pacquiao’s career winding down and Arum (smartly) not pulling the trigger on a Terence Crawford vs. Jeff Horn fight headlining a rumored April ESPN pay-per-view at Madison Square Garden, instead likely slotting it in the co-main event spot to Pacquiao’s return fight, Lomachenko can be seen as Arum’s crown jewel for the next few years. If this ESPN/Top Rank relationship is to ever succeed, Top Rank needs to create another superstar not named Pacquiao.
Looking at the roster of Top Rank fighters, Lomachenko is the boxer that has the best chance at filling that role within the three-year window remaining on Top Rank’s contract with ESPN. Lomachenko won’t get any better or increase his profile with fights against the likes of Miguel Marriaga. He needs names similar to Rigondeaux, where the fight isn’t just a regular fight, but a true boxing spectacle. Garcia fills that role about as well as anyone can at this moment. Making that fight a lightweight world title unification, potentially in late August before the new NFL and NCAA football season starts and there’s no NBA or noteworthy MLB games at that time, would bring the biggest audience and elevate boxing’s profile among sports fans even more.
Results From The World Of Boxing:
January 30: Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
- Ryo Sagawa defeated Tasuku Suwa via UD
- Nobuaki Kanazawa and Kenshin Oshima fight to a split draw
- Yasuki Katagiri defeated Shoma Sekine via SD
- Kai Ishizawa defeated Narathip Sungsut via KO
- Chaoz Minowa defeated Superball Sithsaithong via KO
- Ryukyu Oho defeated Takuya Saikawa via UD
- Yusuke Chiba defeated Takahiko Noguchi via UD
- Atsuyuki Sato defeated Takuya Kurihara via TKO
- Sho Matsumoto defeated Ikuma Tanigawa via UD
- Kojiro Nishikawa defeated Yuzo Uehara via TKO
January 28: Plaza Central Manuel Belgrano, Chilecito, Mendoza, Argentina
- Raul Horacio Centeno defeated Sebastian Vivanco via KO
January 28: Nuevo Gimnasio Nicarao, Managua, Nicaragua
- Daniel Mendoza defeated Nelson Luna via TKO
- Oscar Amador defeated Lester Medrano via SD
- Moises Olivas defeated Miguel Corea via TKO
- Eliezer Gazo defeated Francisco Vargas via UD
- Ernesto Irias defeated Julio Borda via UD
- Yordan Saldana defeated Carlos Arroyo via KO
January 28: Municipal Gymnasium, Pigkawayan, Cotabato (del Norte), Philippines
- Ryan Rey Ponteras defeated Ryan Tampus via TKO
- Richard Bulacan defeated Vergel Deguma via UD
- Jerry Pabila defeated Wiljan Ugbaniel via KO
- Jayson Vayson defeated Renz Padrogane via TKO
- Ryan Makiputin defeated Gerald Alvarez via UD
January 28: Hala MOSiR, ul. Bonczyka 32, Myslowice, Poland
- Przemyslaw Gorgon defeated Tomasz Gargula via TKO
- Kamil Mlodzinski defeated Andrei Staliarchuk via UD
- Patryk Kowoll defeated Dawid Styka via TKO
- Daniel Pilc defeated Dzianis Yahoranka via KO
- Igor Porebski defeated Mikalai Trukhan via TKO
January 28: Gimnasio No Limits, Barcelona, Cataluña, Spain
- Cristobal Lorente defeated Jose Hernandez via PTS
January 27: Club Once Unidos, Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina
- Ezequiel Osvaldo Maderna defeated Martin Fidel Rios to retain the Argentina (FAB) Super Middleweight Title via UD
- Gonzalo Omar Manriquez defeated Jonatan David Barrientos via UD
- Walter Matias Leiva defeated Rolando Damian Pena via UD
- Damian Alejandro Rojas defeated Fernando David Silva via KO
- Reuquen Cona Facundo Arce defeated Brian Daniel Leiva via SD
January 27: Arenahal, Deurne, Antwerpen, Belgium
- Yves Ngabu defeated Geoffrey Battelo to retain the EBU (European) Cruiserweight Title via RTD
- Meriton Karaxha defeated Anthony Polizzi via TKO
- Roberto Secola defeated Mirnes Denadic via KO
January 27: Rebecq, Brabant Wallon, Belgium
- Elfi Philips defeated Katarina Vistica via TKO
- Joffrey Audenaert defeated Antonio Horvatic via UD
- Michael Pareo defeated Tomislav Rudan via UD
January 27: Associacion Beniana Del Boxeo, Trinidad, Bolivia
- Vinnie Carita defeated Esteban Hillman Tababary to retain the interim WBC Latino Cruiserweight Title via KO
- Eddy Salvatierra defeated Ever Rocha via TKO
- Javier Mendoza Suarez defeated Ruben Vargas Diaz via TKO
- Cesar Mamani and Ricardo Rios fight to a split draw
- Marcelo Antonio Gomez defeated Dario Yba Moye via TKO
January 27: Banovici, Bosnia And Herzegovina
- Jasmin Dananovic defeated Mirsad Husic via UD
- Ervin Dzinic defeated Anel Hodzic via UD
- Andrej Bakovic defeated Jasmin Sahbazovic via RTD
- Branislav Malinovic defeated Dino Hasic via UD
- Drazan Janjanin defeated Elmin Handanagic via UD
January 27: Sofia Hall, Sofia, Bulgaria
- Borislava Goranova defeated Liliya Simova via UD
- Teodor Nikolov and Teodor Boyadjiev fight to a split draw
January 27: Grey Eagle Resort and Casino, Calgary, Alberta, Canada
- Zab Judah defeated Noel Mejia Rincon via UD
- Albert Onolunose defeated Victor Manuel Palacios via UD
- Alvin Tam defeated Arturo Garcia Lujano via TKO
- Gwyn Lewis defeated Cristobal Diego via TKO
- Devon Reti defeated Isidro Toala via TKO
- Justin Schmit defeated Zach Manywounds via UD
January 27: Evergrande Square, Chengdu, China
- Li Ming Wang defeated Zi Jie Shang via SD
- Shun Wakabayashi defeated Dong Chuan via UD
- Mao Li defeated Peng Huang via UD
- Tai Chao Ma defeated Du Ning via SD
- Zou Sheng Hai defeated Tao Wang via UD
January 27: Myyrmaki Sporthouse, Vantaa, Finland
- Samuli Karkkainen defeated Reinis Porozovs via SD
- Sanna Turunen defeated Sanja Ostojic via UD
- Gennadi Mentsikainen defeated Tamaz Zadishvili via TKO
- Sami Enbom defeated Adam Kovacs via KO
- Janne Rantanen defeated David Kasas via UD
- Jukka Saarinen defeated Ferenc Bartus via UD
- Oskari Metz defeated Richard Baba via TKO
January 27: Complexe sportif du pilori, Campbon, Loire-Atlantique, France
- Mohamed Kani defeated Issa Mourzaev via UD
- Dylan Bregeon defeated Aboulaye Diane via SD
- Meryl Vegas defeated Ibraguim Gaissumov via PTS
- Olivier Vautrain defeated Bobdelah Belgobbi via UD
January 27: Casino Municipal, Menton, Alpes-Maritimes, France
- Nahed Kharchi defeated Ainara Mota via TKO
- Omar Kobba defeated Guillaume La Selva via KO
January 27: Boxcamp P1, Hellersdorf, Berlin, Germany
- Denis Krieger defeated Robert Maess to win the vacant Germany BDB Super Welterweight Title via TKO
January 27: Bad Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany
- Hizni Altunkaya defeated Niko Lohmann via PTS
- Enis Agushi defeated Francis Kojo Ennin via TKO
January 27: Bukom Boxing Arena, Accra, Ghana
- Emmanuel Tagoe defeated Fernando David Saucedo to retan the International Boxing Organization World Lightweight Title via TKO
January 27: Star Boxing Club, Pocheon, South Korea
- In Soo Jang defeated Soo Ho Shin via UD
- Jin Ho Park defeated Ho Jin Park via TKO
- Jin Wook Shin defeated Seung Hyun Yoon via TKO
- Hwang Kook Je defeated Nam Joo Kim via UD
- Dong Kyun Han defeated SUng Hyo Hong via MD
- Dong Young Lee defeated Yong Sun Shin via KO
- Se Woong Um and Jin Kyoo Choi fight to a majority draw
- Aaron Singleton defeated Kook Lee via UD
January 27: Arena Riga, Riga, Latvia
- Oleksandr Usyk defeated Mairis Briedis to unify the WBC and WBO World Cruiserweight Titles and advance to the WBSS Finals via MD
- Yoann Kongolo defeated Andrejs Pokumeiko to retain the WBC International Silver Light Heavyweight Title via UD
- Filip Hrgovic defeated Tom Little via TKO
- Micki Nielsen defeated Ricards Bolotniks via SD
- Otto Wallin defeated Srdan Govedarica via KO
- Jevgenijs Aleksejevs defeated Maurice Possiti via SD
- Mikael Lawal defeated Istvan Orsos via UD
- Araik Marutjan defeated Richard Hegyi via UD
January 27: Auditorio Municipal, Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
- Edivaldo Ortega defeated Drian Francisco via UD
- Sandra Robles defeated Yesenia Martinez Castrejon via TKO
- Carlos Ornelas defeated Alem Robles via TKO
- Yamileth Mercado defeated Marisol Corona via UD
- Carlos Licona defeated Efrain Gonzalez via UD
- Luis Coria defeated Edgar Daniel Ahumada via UD
- Omar Alejandro Aguilar defeated Mario Fernando Sanchez via KO
- Reinaldo Paniagua defeated Ricardo Arce via TKO
- Jose Humberto Vazquez defeated Julio Cesar Morales via SD
January 27: Nuevo Gimnasio Nicarao, Managua, Nicaragua
- Julio Mendoza defeated Omar Ortiz via UD
- Elison Marquez defeated Reynaldo Jimenez via TKO
- Aron Juarez defeated Felix Moncada via KO
- Manuel Gonzalez defeated Jonas Castillo via TKO
- Marcos Cardenas and Ramon Mendez fight to a draw on PTS
- Steven Borge defeated Reynaldo Moreno via TKO
- Rommel Soza defeated Natanael Rocha via TKO
January 27: Casa de la Cultura, David, Panama
- Jesus Santos defeated Eliecer Valdez via UD
- Jose Beitia defeated Gilberto Gomez via KO
- Gil Rodriguez defeated Johnatan Calderon via KO
- John Hibbert defeated Ricardo Rodriguez via TKO
- Ivan Trejos defeated Felix Montenegro via KO
- Ronal Batista defeated Ricardo Mendoza via KO
January 27: Valencia City, Bukidnon, Philippines
- Pedro Taduran defeated Jerry Tomogdan to win the Philippines Games & Amusement Board (GAB) Minimumweight Title via KO
January 27: Iradier Arena, Vitoria, País Vasco, Spain
- Ignacio Mendoza defeated Fran Suarez to retain the Spanish Super Lightweight Title via KO
- Kevin Baldospino defeated Eduardo Cobos via UD
January 27: Casal Cultural i Recreatiu, Castellbisbal, Cataluña, Spain
- Marc Vidal defeated Michael Isaac Carrero via TKO
January 27: Haldun Alagas Sports Complex, Istanbul, Turkey
- Huseyin Cinkara defeated Gogita Gorgiladze via TKO
- Seyda Keser defeated Davit Ribakoni via UD
- Efkan Zeytinoglu defeated Maksym Kucheruk via UD
- Gulsum Tatar defeated Maria Arefimagham via UD
- Hamza Gunes defeated Ivan Bezverkhyi via UD
- Tarik Sozer defeated Dmytro Kostenko via UD
- Ferhat Aydin defeated Moeketsi Khoahlape via TKO
- Murat Temur defeated Fazli Gunesl via UD
- Salman Kartal defeated Mukhammadali Khalimkhonov via TKO
January 27: The Knights of St Columba Social Club, Moodiesburn, Scotland, United Kingdom
- Shaun McShane defeated James Gorman via PTS
January 27: Forum, Inglewood, California, USA
- Jorge Linares defeated Mercito Gesta to retain the WBA World Lightweight Title via UD
- Lucas Martin Matthysse defeated Tewa Kiram to win the vacant WBA "Regular" World Welterweight Title via KO
- Marcelino Nicolas Lopez defeated Breidis Prescott via KO
- Romero Duno defeated Yardley Armenta Cruz via KO
- Francisco Esparza defeated Tenochtitlan Nava via KO
- Ferdinand Kerobyan defeated Lucius Johnson via UD
- Francisco Javier Martinez defeated Danny Flores via UD
- Daquan Arnett defeated Osbaldo Camacho Gonzales via UD
January 27: Castleton Banquet & Conference Center, Windham, New Hampshire, USA
- Jeremiah Karpency defeated Rubin Williams via TKO
- Tommy O'Connell defeated Bryan Abraham via UD
- Julio Campusano defeated Rene Nazare via KO
- Tolan Tascoe defeated John Webster via UD
- Tracey Johnson and Cristiano Pedro fight to a split draw
- Anthony Velazquez defeated Andre Belcarris via KO
- Ilya Blinnikov defeated Theo Desjardin via KO
January 27: Complex Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
- Christian Aguirre defeated Jordan Marriott via TKO
- Dylan Baffuto defeated Joel Richardson via KO
January 27: Buffalo Thunder Casino, Pojoaque, New Mexico, USA
- Anthony Martinez defeated Gene Perez via UD
- Frank Sanchez Faure defeated Manuel Eastman via TKO
- Jose Osorio defeated Derek Perez via UD
- Travis Foster defeated Bryant McClain via MD
- Leanna Martinez defeated Kristen Montano via MD
- Karina Mendoza and Jordanne Garcia fight to a split draw
- Jee Kim defeated Joseph Veloz via KO
January 27: Gimnasio Mocho Navas, Petare, Venezuela
- Danis Castillo defeated Alfredo Mirabal via KO
- Roiman Villa defeated Jackson Torres via TKO
- Ronald Chacon defeated Vicente Mirabal via TKO
- Jean Carlos Prada defeated Jorge Oliveros via TKO
- Antonio Mercado defeated Luis Martinez via TKO
- Rafael Hernandez defeated Gilberto Guarecuco via KO
- Kelly Figueroa defeated Elvis Franco via KO
- Leiryn Flores defeated Estefania Matute via TKO
- Victor Pinango defeated Elvis Negrin via TKO
- Jesus Tovar defeated Alexander Guarecuco via TKO
- Luis Millan defeated Enderson Meneses via TKO
- Yeison Gonzalez defeated Julio Vargas via TKO
January 26: Club Talleres, Arroyo Seco, Santa Fe, Argentina
- Gustavo Daniel Lemos defeated Ruben Dario Lopez to win the vacant IBF Latino Super Lightweight Title via KO
- Evelyn Nazarena Bermudez defeated Maria Laura Cano via UD
- Agustin Mauro Gauto defeated Giampier Quinones via KO
- Kevin Nicolas Espindola defeated Nazareno Ricardo Dadario via KO
- Eliana Yamila Cuello defeated Elizabeth Britos via UD
January 26: Puerto Salvador Allende, Managua, Nicaragua
- Felix Alvarado defeated Sebastian Sanchez via tKO
- Melvin Lopez defeated Aramis Solis via TKO
- Brayan Mairena defeated Alexander Taylor via MD
- Franco Gutierrez defeated Marlon Cruz via TKO
- Brayan Ruiz defeated Harvy Calero via UD
- Kevin Trana and Jonathan Blas fight to a majority draw
- Julio Tercero defeated Imer Hernandez via UD
January 26: Pabellon Municipal, Sedavi, Comunidad Valenciana, Spain
- Alexander Podolsky defeated Anzor Gamgebeli via KO
- Alin Florin Ciorceri defeated Kakha Avetisiani via KO
- Bernard Angelo Torres defeated Giorgi Gachechiladze via TKO
- Vicente Andres Monzo defeated Mamadou Goita via UD
- Avtandil Tchubabria defeated Oscar Vinicio Nunez via MD
January 26: Rangsit International Stadium, Rangsit, Thailand
- Kittithat Ungsrivongs defeated Agus Kustiawan to win the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Featherweight Title via TKO
- Tanawat Nakoon defeated Melianus Mirin to win the vacant WBC Asian Boxing Council Minimumweight Title via UD
- Tran Van Thao defeated Richard Rosales via UD
- Sirichai Thaiyen defeated Marten Kisamlu via RTD
- Pathinya Phumidet defeated Enxiong Tian via RTD
- Tassana Sanpattan defeated Tran Dong Du via TKO
Fightful Boxing Rankings
- Terence Crawford
- Vasyl Lomachenko
- Gennady Golovkin
- Canelo Alvarez
- Mikey Garcia
- Naoya Inoue
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Ryoichi Taguchi
- Sergey Kovalev
- Anthony Joshua
- Deontay Wilder
- Joseph Parker
- Luis Ortiz
- Alexander Povetkin
- Kubrat Pulev
- Jarrell Miller
- Andy Ruiz Jr.
- Dillian Whyte
- Carlos Takam
- Oleksandr Usyk
- Murat Gassiev
- Krzysztof Glowacki
- Mairis Briedis
- Marco Huck
- Yunier Dorticos
- Firat Arslan
- Denis Lebediev
- Andrew Tabiti
- Krzysztof Wlodarczyk
- Sergey Kovalev
- Badou Jack
- Adonis Stevenson
- Oleksandr Gvozdyk
- Dmitry Bivol
- Sullivan Barrera
- Artur Beterbiev
- Eleider Alvarez
- Marcus Browne
- Joe Smith Jr.
- Gilberto Ramirez
- George Groves
- Anthony Dirrell
- Andre Dirrell
- Chris Eubank Jr.
- David Benavidez
- Caleb Truax
- James DeGale
- Jose Uzcategui
- Tyron Zeuge
- Gennady Golovkin
- Canelo Alvarez
- Daniel Jacobs
- Billy Joe Saunders
- Jermall Charlo
- Ryota Murata
- Demetrius Andrade
- Andy Lee
- David Lemieux
- Sergiy Derevyanchenko
- Erislandy Lara
- Jermell Charlo
- Jarrett Hurd
- Demetrius Andrade
- Julian Williams
- Austin Trout
- Sadam Ali
- Liam Smith
- Maciej Sulecky
- Kell Brook
- Errol Spence Jr.
- Keith Thurman
- Terence Crawford
- Danny Garcia
- Shawn Porter
- Jeff Horn
- Manny Pacquiao
- Lamont Peterson
- Jessie Vargas
- Lucas Matthysse
The rest of the rankings are in the next page.
- Julius Indongo
- Viktor Postol
- Antonio Orozco
- Sergey Lipinets
- Terry Flanagan
- Eduard Troyanovski
- Isaac Dogboe
- Regis Prograis
- Rances Barthelemy
- Kenichi Ogawa
- Mikey Garcia
- Jorge Linares
- Robert Easter Jr.
- Anthony Crolla
- Luke Campbell
- Dejan Zlaticanin
- Raymundo Beltran
- Denis Shafikov
- Ricky Burns
- Javier Fortuna
- Vasyl Lomachenko
- Miguel Berchelt
- Francisco Vargas
- Jezreel Corrales
- Alberto Machado
- Robinson Castellanos
- Miguel Roman
- Orlando Salido
- Jason Sosa
- Jhonny Gonzalez
- Leo Santa Cruz
- Gary Russell Jr.
- Abner Mares
- Lee Selby
- Oscar Valdez
- Carl Frampton
- Scott Quigg
- Jesus Cuellar
- Joseph Diaz
- Claudio Marrero
- Guillermo Rigondeaux
- Jessie Magdaleno
- Nonito Donaire
- Moises Flores
- Rey Vargas
- Danny Roman
- Hugo Ruiz
- Marlon Tapales
- Julio Ceja
- Yukinori Oguni
- Jamie McDonnell
- Luis Nery
- Ryan Burnett
- Juan Carlos Payano
- Shinsuke Yamanaka
- Zolani Tete
- Lee Haskins
- Zhanat Zhakiyanov
- Takoma Inoue
- Liborio Solis
- Naoya Inoue
- Srisaket Sor Rungvisai
- Jerwin Ancajas
- Khalid Yafai
- Juan Francisco Estrada
- Carlos Cuadras
- Roman Gonzalez
- John Riel Casimero
- Rau'shee Warren
- Luis Concepcion
- Kazuto Ioka
- Donnie Nietes
- Daigo Higa
- Juan Carlos Reveco
- Kosei Tanaka
- Sho Kimura
- Moruti Mthalane
- McWilliams Arroyo
- Francisco Rodriguez Jr.
- Zou Shiming
- Ryoichi Taguchi
- Ken Shiro
- Wanheng Menayothin
- Hiroto Kyoguchi
- Knockout CP Freshmart
- Milan Melindo
- Angel Acosta
- Tatsuya Fukuhara
- Hekkie Budler
- Jose Argumedo
News And Notes From The World Of Boxing:
1. A couple of weeks ago, Takeshi Inoue had chosen to vacate the Japanese light middleweight title right before the Champions Carnival in an effort to move onto world title contention as soon as possible. Inoue will now instead defend his OPBF and WBO Asia Pacific titles on April 26 in an IBF world title eliminator against Yuki Nonaka. Since the Japanese title was vacated, matchmakers had to scramble to find an opponent for Nobuyuki Shindo, Inoue's Champions Carnival opponent. Shindo will now face Ryosuke Maruki for the vacant title on May 15.
2. The Champions Carnival was supposed to kick off last weekend with the Japanese bantamweight title fight between Ryo Akaho and mandatory challenger Yusuke Suzuki at Korakuen Hall. Unfortunately, Akaho fell ill on the week of the fight and have to vacate the title and cancel the bout. The Japanese Boxing Commission has decided that Suzuki will fight former world title challenger Suguru Muranaka. The fight will still take place at Korakuen Hall and it will happen sometime in April.
3. Back in the summer of 2016, rising contender Masao Nakamura surprisingly announced his retirement. Nearly two years later, Nakamura announced his intent on returning to the ring and is now penciled in to fight on the March 18 card in Kobe. No opponent has been named for Nakamura's return fight. At the time of Nakamura's initial retirement, it seemed like he had been in line for a WBA world title fight against Jezreel Corrales and it had seemed like it was bizarre timing to walk away from boxing. Nakamura was a former OPBF champion.
4. OPBF super featherweight champion Carlo Magali, who was originally going to fight WBC champion Miguel Berchelt in February, won't get the world title fight. The GAB announced that it has forced Magali out of the bout, refusing to allow him to return to the ring so soon after his January 13th win over Masatoshi Kotani. According to Korean sources, Magali and his team have agreed to travel to Korea in April for a title defense against unbeaten Yoon Sung Kim, provided he wins his bout against Tae Won Jung on February 11. The potential Magali vs. Sung Kim bout, which we understand will be promoted by Won Promotion, is likely to be confirmed later in the year and would be the first OPBF title fight in Korea since Min Wook Kim defended the OPBF Light Welterweight title against Valentine Hosokawa back in August 2013.
5. OPBF Bantamweight champion Mark John Yap will make his third defense of the title against Takafumi Nakajima on April 4 at Korakuen Hall.
6. Former WBO minimumweight and light flyweight champion Kosei Tanaka will be returning to the ring on March 31 to fight Ronnie Baldonado. The bout will take place at flyweight and will be Tanaka's first flyweight bout. It will also be his first bout since last September when he suffered two eye injuries against Palangpol CP Freshmart.
7. WBC female atomweight and minimumweight champion Momo Koseki has announced her retirement from the sport, vacating both titles. Koseki won the WBC title back in August 2008 and went on to make an unprecedented 17 title defenses, unifying the WBA title along the way with a win over Ayaka Miyao in 2015. Koseki claimed the WBC female minimumweight title with a win over Yuko Kuroki. Koseki retires with a 24-2-1, 9 KO professional boxing record.
1. The Lawrence Okolie vs. Isaac Chamberlain fight was originally going to be a non-title grudge match. According to Boxrec, the February 3 clash set to headline an O2 Arena card will now be for the vacant WBA Continental cruiserweight title. Tee fight will be televised exclusively live on Sky Sports.
2. On that same Okolie vs. Chamberlain card, Ted Cheeseman and Carson Jones, also originally not a title fight, will fight for the vacant WBA International super welterweight title.
3. Frankie Gavin's IBO welterweight title fight against Bethuel Ushona has been pushed back a month after Gavin suffered an ankle injury in training. The fight against Ushona for the vacant title, which was due to take place at the Genting Arena in Birmingham on February 23, will now be rescheduled to March 24. The card is also expected to have two other IBO title fights.
4. The World Series of Boxing is back on BoxNation for another year, kicking-off with the British Lionhearts who go up against France Fighting Roosters exclusively live on February 2. Now in Season 8, the WSB, a unique global team boxing competition not to be confused with the World Boxing Super Series, involves sides from the Americas, Europe and Asia all going up against one another in a three-group regional regular season before undertaking the global playoffs and final. Among the boxers taking part in the new season will be a host of champions and medalists from the 2017 AIBA World Championships in Hamburg, and the eleven teams will be able to recruit available national and international boxers to their squads.
5. Karo Murat has relinquished the EBU light heavyweight title and will not go through with a planned title defense against Serhyi Demchenko that was tentatively set for March 24 in Hamburg, Germany. Murat will now go for the IBO title left vacant (or will be vacated) by stablemate Igor Mikhalkin, who fights WBO champion Sergey Kovalev on March 3 at Madison Square Garden. As for as Demchenko goes he remains official challenger for the now vacant EBU title and will take on the highest ranked available challenger.
1. Luis Solis and Nery Saguilan will headline a show in Comitan, Mexico on February 18, with the vacant World Boxing Federation (WBF) junior welterweight title at stake.
2. From their respective training camps in Thailand and Mexico, WBC super flyweight champion Srisaket Sor Rungvisai, (43-4-1, 39 KO’s) and No. 1 ranked mandatory challenger Juan Francisco Estrada both weighed in within the WBC's required 30-day limits. Sor Rungvisai hit the scales at 125 lbs., while Estrada weighed in at 126.5 lbs. The two will headline the HBO-televised "Superfly 2" event on February 24.
1. Evander Holyfield’s Real Deal Sports & Entertainment is announced an exclusive partnership with the historic Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, New York to bring at least four boxing events to the venue. The first anticipated date under the new partnership is slated for March 10, 2018 with events following in the subsequent three quarters in 2018.
2. Former junior middleweight world champion Austin Trout will look to bounce back from back-to-back losses in world title fights. Trout will face Juan De Angel in an eight or 10-round fight on the non-televised undercard of the Premier Boxing Champions card headlined by the fight between former welterweight champions Devon Alexander and Victor Ortiz on February 17. FOX will handle broadcasting duties for the televised portion of the card.